Dec 23, 2012
Hi all,

For the two months I have been researching on these forums on making a build, and the more I read the more I want but I have to remind myself I have a budget! I have nice two 23" HP setup with a great 5.1 Logitech Speaker Setup, Keyboard, Mouse, and Windows 7.

I am currently a college student in senior year (my old rig is out of commission and outdated so not upgrading or taking parts from it) and I want something that will take me into the next couple of years. I need something that can handle the basics (websurfing, office etc..) but also some light CAD, photoshop, and programming (mostly web stuff). I do some database stuff as well. Going to an Engineering school I throw a lot at it and would like something that can handle a lot, maybe even some light gaming.

For the CPU I would like to go intel, maybe i5, i7? I like Intel because of its reliability. I will in the future upgrade to have a SSD but I will wait for prices to drop a little (avid deal hunter). I am currently in the market to purchase these parts ASAP. For the case I want something that has a 3.0 on the front but is not a deal breaker, but is still a midtower ~>21". I also want something that stays relatively quiet. I live near a Microcenter (Has great deals).

I hope this is not too long of a wish-list but I appreciate any feedback. Thank you.

Storage (SSD):
Video Card:
Power Supply:


Jun 21, 2012
Here you go. Just a few cents over $500. Can't vouch for the video card but it supports 2 X HDMI and 2 X DVI out. This build is going with Core i3 to keep you within budget. This gives you a 1 TB HDD. You will have to add an SSD in a future upgrade to stay within budget.

PCPartPicker part list:
Price breakdown by merchant:

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 650 2GB Video Card ($129.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $500.41
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-24 00:03 EST-0500)

emperor piehead

Jul 8, 2012
This build is $30 over but it has an i5 + a better video card
CPU: i5 3470
Memory: 2x4gb crucial memory 1600mhz
storage: 7200rpm 1tb
video card: his radeon 7770
These are just the biggies its pretty similar to previous build. If you want you can back down to i3 & get a boot ssd with the savings like 64gb size.

Total price= $532.03

full spec-
If it is only light gaming, you could go for an i5-3570K and use the onboard graphics for a while. Intel HD 4000 is pretty decent and should play virtually any game on low settings. Also means you can wait a while till you can afford a decent graphics card for gaming. You could improve the cooling and overclock as well, it means fantastic upgrade room if you can deal with low level gaming for a while.

ASRock Z77 Pro3
2x4GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600Mhz Low Profile 1.35v C9
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB
Corsair CX-430 430W
NZXT Source 210

Total - $496.94 before shipping and a $20 rebate on the PSU (Newegg)


Dec 23, 2012
Thank you all.

I mainly want the graphics card to make sure I can get two digital out.

I like all the builds just not sure about the differences in performance between the i5s.
Okay for bang for the buck, here is what I have proposed!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($63.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill REDBONE U3 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($30.95 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $503.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-24 07:28 EST-0500)

* GPU is hard to beat this price/performance at $130!!!
* Case has Front USB 3.0 ports!!
* RAM is low profile, so you can add in after market CPU HSF later without issues!
* PSU is good and can handle and GPU that only requires 1 PCI-e power connector.
* CPU is good for gaming and all around tasks. If you want more CPU power than the GPU will have to drop down to fit it into your budget. I would recommend going this way first and if you think you need more CPU power, than I would upgrade later, but I think you might be surprised.

Other PSU for $40 after Promo and MIRc. Has more upgrade path than the one listed, but at $40 after rebates, it's hard to pass up!